Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Staring: Taraji P Henson, Janelle Monae & Octavia Spencer
Those of us old enough to remember when early astronaut John Glenn went into space will have a picture in our heads of the mathematicians, scientists and engineers behind the mission. This film based on the non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly illustrates that not all of them were our imagined white males but included young black women such as Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan. Shetterly’s parents worked at Cape Canaveral giving her background knowledge of the space programme. The film tells how, in a desperate search for the talent needed to beat Russia in the space race, NASA became a reluctant employer of a diverse workforce by moving this trio from a segregated block for black pre-computer “number crunchers” to the mainstream development facility once they had recognising their talents in mathematics and engineering. Hidden Figures is a heartwarming tale of their success and teamwork against the odds in an era of discrimination.